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Non-res building construction increases in 4th quarter, StatsCan reports


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January 16, 2015 by STAFF REPORT

Stats Can reports 4th quarter non-res building permits up
Stats Can reports 4th quarter non-res building permits up

Investment in non-residential building construction reached $12.9 billion in the fourth quarter, up 0.3 per cent from the previous quarter, according to Statistics Canada reports. Higher spending in the institutional and industrial components led to a third consecutive quarterly increase.

Overall, total investment increased in five provinces in the fourth quarter, with the largest gain in Alberta, followed closely by Manitoba. In Alberta, the increase was spread across the institutional and industrial components, while in Manitoba, the gain was in the commercial and institutional components.

Quebec recorded the most significant decrease, as a result of lower investment in the commercial and industrial components.

Census metropolitan areas

Investment rose in 14 of 34 census metropolitan areas. The largest increases were in Edmonton, Toronto and Winnipeg. In Edmonton and Toronto, investment increased in all three components, while the gain in Winnipeg was attributable to commercial and institutional spending.

Conversely, the largest decreases occurred in Saskatoon and Ottawa. In Saskatoon, investment declined for a third consecutive quarter, as spending fell across all three components. In Ottawa, the decline was mostly attributable to lower investment in the commercial components.

Institutional component

Investment in institutional projects rose by 1.4 per cent to $3.5 billion in the fourth quarter, the third straight quarterly increase in this component nationally. Institutional investment was up in five provinces. The biggest increase was in British Columbia, followed by Alberta. In British Columbia, investment was up 7.4 per cent to $384 million. This was mainly the result of higher spending in the construction of health care facilities. In Alberta, investment rose 6.1 per cent to $441 million, the second consecutive quarter of growth for the province. This increase was mainly a result of higher spending in all categories of institutional buildings.

The most significant decrease occurred in New Brunswick, where investment was down 18.9 per cent to $74 million. This was the third straight quarterly decline and reflected the near completion of major institutional projects in the province.

Industrial component

Investment in industrial projects was up 1.1 per cent to $1.6 billion in the fourth quarter. This was the second consecutive quarterly increase. Gains in this component were mainly the result of the construction of manufacturing plants and primary industry buildings in Ontario, as well as maintenance buildings in Alberta.

Quebec posted the largest decline in the fourth quarter, with investment falling 8.0 per cent to $270 million, mainly because of lower construction of manufacturing plants.

Commercial component

Investment in commercial building construction amounted to $7.8 billion in the fourth quarter, down 0.4 per cent from the previous quarter. This decline followed two consecutive quarterly increases and was attributable to lower spending on commercial building construction in seven provinces.

The sharpest declines occurred in Quebec and Ontario. In Quebec, commercial investment was down 2.3 per cent to $1.3 billion, the fourth straight quarterly drop in commercial investment in this province. The decrease was primarily due to lower investment in the construction of recreational, office and retail and wholesale buildings. In Ontario, investment was down 0.8 per cent to $3.0 billion, mainly as a result of lower spending on recreational, retail and wholesale and transportation facilities.

The largest increase was in Manitoba, where investment rose 11.9 per cent to $268 million. Investment was up for most types of commercial buildings.


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